Monday, March 9, 2009
Rheumatoid Arthritis is a disease that affects the immune system, causing the body to turn against itself and attack healthy joint tissue. No specific cause has been identified, but it is believed that genetics, environment, hormones and stress levels can all have an impact.
It is diagnosed with a combination of a physical examination of the joints, reflexes, muscle stability and appearance of the skin, a blood test for white blood cell count and an x-ray that will show up any long-term joint damage.
There are actually three stages of RA :-
1. The swelling of the synovial lining of the joints affected. This causes pain and stiffness as well as warmth, redness and swelling around the joint itself.
2. The joint lining (synovium) thickens, caused by the rapid division and growth of cells.
3. These inflamed cells release enzymes that may feed upon cartilage and the actual bone. This is what causes disfigurement, loss of movement and even more pain.
The disease affects most people from middle age, but some children and young adults can face earlier onset (Juvenile Arthritis).
Those who suffer with it experience pain and inflammation in their joints, accompanied by swelling, stiffness, fever and fatigue. If left untreated, it can progress to total dysfunction of the joints. Relief does appear to be close at hand, with a new generation of treatments being trialed today.
One powerful form of treatment is the Non-steroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs), which reduce pain and decrease inflammation. They can cause side effects such as an upset stomach, peptic ulcers, excessive bleeding and renal failure and a patient cannot drink any alcohol due to the extra strain they can place on the liver. Some examples are Ibuprofen, Ketoprofen and Naproxen.These are also used to treat Ankylosing Spondylitis, Juvenile Arthritis and Psoriasis.
Disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs) are also a common treatment and are known to reduce pain in swollen joints and retard joint damage.
They can take between a few weeks or a few months to work and there are also side effects to consider.
Rheumatoid Arthritis Exercises and Diet:-
Swimming is a conducive exercise for arthritic patients.
Proper exercises can aid in pain relief and improved mobility. The diet usually suggests more consumption of certain vegetables while gluten intake is reduced.
Fish is also an essential element in a rheumatoid arthritis diet. Fish oil supplements can augment in providing nutrient needs.
Some vegetable foods to be avoided are green pepper, tomatoes and eggplants. In a diet for rheumatoid arthritis, nutrient elements from foods boost bone and joint health. At the same time, arthritic symptoms are reduced.
The diet should also include minerals like calcium and iron, and Vitamins like B and C. Also, the body weight should be always under control.
This is because a person having rheumatoid arthritis may turn anemic, lose bone density, develop a fever, and develop other symptoms that body cannot withstand with the pain and stiffness.
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